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Jesse Wilcox wins science teaching award

The first-year professor earned the Iowa Academy of Science's Distinguished Science Teaching Award


Jesse Wilcox knows how to make a good first impression.

One of the newest additions to the Simpson College faculty, Wilcox—assistant professor of teacher education—recently won the Distinguished Science Teaching Award presented by the Iowa Academy of Science.

The award recognizes contributions that Iowan professors and teachers have made to scientific research, science education, and general service to science. 

Wilcox’s teaching methods are unique, as they are mostly researched based. In addition to this, he tries his best to make sure each and every student feels welcomed in the classroom. 

“Perhaps the most fundamental aspect of teaching is really caring about each student and working to get to know them as a student and as a person,” he said. 

Wilcox came to Simpson from Drake University, where he taught teacher education from 2016-18. Prior to that, he spent two years at Grand View University. 

For Wilcox, one of the biggest benefits of working at Simpson is the college's emphasis on individual students. 

Perhaps the most fundamental aspect of teaching is really caring about each student and working to get to know them as a student and as a person.

“I think the faculty want their courses to be rigorous and meaningful for each student and the staff is very friendly and helpful.”

The Iowa State University alumnus also believes in treating students with kindness and respect. He said if the students aren’t comfortable with the faculty, then they won’t perform their best.

“Students must feel safe in the classroom before they can effectively share their ideas, engage in activities, be comfortable being wrong, and think at deeper levels,” he said. “I believe teachers can begin to create safe environments by effectively interacting with students.” 

Wilcox particularly enjoys working with Simpson students as he feels they are eager to learn and passionate about what they do. He also enjoys his department, teacher education.

“My department has been wonderful. I think we all share a similar vision for education and all want the very best for our students. I’ve also enjoyed getting to know other professors and staff members from across campus. It’s great to have so much expertise.”

Other Simpson professors who have won the award include Dr. Ron Warnett in 2011 and Dr. Pat Singer in 2017.

A Simpson College degree in education matters. For generations, we have established a tradition of excellence so school administrators know they can trust Simpson graduates.

Learn more about the Department of Teacher Education